Lotfeeding

Feedlot sector welcomes clarification over branding legislation

Beef Central, 28/07/2014

The Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) has welcomed clarification by the Queensland Government regarding requirements under the state’s Brands Act 1915 and Stock Act 1915 associated with the branding and related waybill requirements for feedlot cattle.

In a statement released this morning, ALFA President Don Mackay stated “past interpretation of the legislation resulted in an outcome that did not improve stock theft but did impose onerous and unnecessary requirements on lot feeders.”

Under the Qld Brands Act, all cattle greater than 100kg must be branded prior to sale.

“However, a large number of feedlots in the state are vertically integrated with cattle owned by the business from birth through to slaughter.  So whilst there was no sale transaction, a brand was nonetheless required.

A large number of other feedlots purchase the bulk of their cattle from interstate (where branding is not compulsory) hence the branding requirement was a costly imposition on their business.”

Under the Qld Stock Act 1915, it was previously interpreted that for a waybill to be considered correctly completed, the brands of all animals had to be detailed.

“However, brands are often illegible (due to dirty hides, hairy coats, poor branding practices etc) making it infeasible to accurately transcribe this detail on the waybill. Moreover, some feedlots had cattle consignments with over 220 brands meaning legislative compliance was consequently extremely difficult.”

Minister for Agriculture, John McVeigh has recently clarified branding requirements for interstate cattle and advised that there is no ‘sale’ under the Act (and hence no branding requirement) for the following classes of cattle:

  • Interstate cattle ‘custom fed’ in Qld feedlots;
  • Cattle sold interstate and then transported to an abattoir in Queensland for slaughter;
  • Cattle taken straight from their home property to slaughter and sold over the hooks;
  • Cattle owned by a vertically integrated company from birth to slaughter (including integrated extensive and intensive businesses).

However, the obligation to brand cattle applies to interstate cattle that are sold over the scales to a feedlot or purchased from a saleyard in Queensland.  It also applies to cattle that are not immediately slaughtered and diverted from the feedlot and sold to another company or person.

The advice also states that there is no legal requirement to include brands on the waybill with the obligation to detail ‘identification marks’ able to be met by brands, National Livestock Identification System numbers or management tag information.

“ALFA has been working with the Qld Government to address this matter for several years and accordingly it is pleasing that such progress has been made”, Mr Mackay said.

Source: Australian Lot Feeders Association

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